Barbados’ latest centenarian still cooks and cleans for himself and trims his own hedges.
However, it was his razor sharp memory and his strong wit that stood out mostly today, as Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave joined family and friends at George Boyce’s Maycocks, St Lucy home for his special 100th birthday celebration.
As he stood confidently to greet Sir Elliott, an agile-looking Boyce revealed that he had known Sir Elliott from way back in the day.
“I remember when you [Sir Elliott] went to school at Boscobel Boys [in St Peter] and Mr Riley would give you lashes, but that was a long time ago,” he said to the Governor General’s amusement and agreement.
Boyce, whose 82-year-old friend Darnley Campbell was also in attendance, also stood up and re-enacted in very animated fashion, how Campbell used to run and hide whenever it was time for a haircut.
The intimate gathering, which was taken by Boyce on a walk down memory lane, also heard of his “expert” culinary skills, including his mastery of cou cou and flying fish, Barbados’ national dish.
But what about his recipe for a long and healthy life?
The still sprightly senior, who still likes to help himself, said he delights in praising God and living peacefully. And while he still takes the occasional glass of wine or “lil brandy”, he had cut out “rum drinking” completely, following an incident which occurred when he was in his 70s that left him passed out on the floor.
“I turn my life around after that time I got drunk,” Boyce said.
Today, the father of three, who has five grandchildren and three great-grands, was described as a strong disciplinarian.
His daughter Glenda Hunter, who resides in the United Kingdom, also said he was “the best father” anyone could ask for.
“He is such a fantastic person. He is very caring person. The whole village appreciates him. He has always said to me and my brother that education is very important [and] although we were poor, he still made sure that we got a good education,” she said.
In explaining how strict he was, the former student of The Alexandra School said with a chuckle: “If we had a school fair and it started at 3 p.m., my dad would expect me home at half past three. And if I didn’t, he would come and get me.”
In his early days, Boyce tried his hands at several jobs, including labourer, gardener and part-time butcher. After retirement, he continued with gardening as a hobby, which he maintains up to now.
“Even a couple of weeks ago he was on a ladder trimming the hedges. So I just begged him please take it easy,” Hunter said of the centenarian, who apart from being impaired in his right ear, and has a cut on his right eye, appears to be in good health.